Keep It Simple
Breastfeeding is natural, rewarding, and good for both you and your baby. However, it is not always easy. While you're both still learning, there are several things you can do to keep things going smoothly:
Bring the baby to your breast, instead of moving yourself to the baby.
Make sure the baby is latched on correctly. She should have the areola in her mouth, not just the nipple. If it hurts, it's wrong.
Make sure your baby's head is tipped slightly back and her chin is pressed into your breast. It is the movements of her chin and tongue that draw out the milk.
Keep your wrist straight. Flexing the wrist supporting your baby's head may tip her down into a less efficient nursing position, and the strain on your wrist may cause inflammation and pain.
Nurse at least ten to twelve times a day for the first few weeks — that's an average of once every two hours.
Don't watch the clock; let your baby tell you when she's done.
Vary your nursing position. The baby will press on your breasts differently depending on how she is positioned.
Use your finger to break the suction before taking your baby off your nipple. Pulling her off will hurt.
Have a drink of milk, water, or juice. When your baby is drinking, you should be, too.
Don't forget to burp your baby. Most babies swallow a little air along with the milk, and this trapped air can cause stomach pains. Try burping when you switch sides and after breastfeeding, but don't worry if your baby doesn't burp, some just don't.
Ask for Help
If you're feeling insecure, aren't sure if the baby is sucking correctly, or feel uncomfortable in any way, get some expert advice. The maternity nurses, as well as your child's pediatrician, may be able to help you. You might also want to talk to a lactation consultant, who is trained to help you learn how to breastfeed. Many hospitals have lactation consultants on staff (often ob-gyn nurses will also get this specialized training). If your hospital doesn't have a lactation consultant available, contact the La Leche League (